The peak of the local wedding season is just about here, which leads Stateline couples in search of the perfect spot to say, “I do.” With so many places to choose from, we reached out to Stateline photographer Christopher Tyson to show us some of his favorites that are just a little out of the way.
First Tyson takes us to South Beloit, where DC Estates Winery sits, a place where a couple can feel like they’ are are escaping to the vineyards of Tuscany for their wedding.
“There is a lot of natural beauty here, you don’t need a lot to make the space beautiful,” says Tia Lasswell, a certified wedding planner at DC Estates.
The open-air outdoor ball room sits on twenty-two acres of land that incorporates a pond, limestone arches, and the vineyard. Couples can also take advantage of the beautiful scenery throughout their big day and customize the location.
“The venue gives you a few different options outside for the ceremony. You can get married in the vineyard, [or] you can get married by the pond with the limestone arch, and if the weather isn’t cooperating, you still have room and space to do things in doors,” says Tyson.
For a couple that wants a more rustic experience for their wedding, there is White Pines nestled in White Pines National Park in Oregon.
Tyson says White Pines is “Good for a couple that just really likes the raw beauty of outdoors. There is not a lot of high end finishes or touches. It’s all very real and family oriented.”
It’s a place that strives to be sanctuary centered around nature and family values. “For us, it’s about creating that experience on purpose and leaving what is already here, what Mother Natures has already created, and is just us being able to capture it and be able to reproduce it for others so they can take it home for themselves,” says Jerry Campagna, the VP of operations at White Pines Resort.
Brides and grooms can have their wedding in a limestone rock canyon complete with waterfalls, next to a pond, and a white canopy tent. It’s a place where a bride and groom can enjoy being surrounded by the great outdoors.
“One of the things that truly stands out is the enchanted experience of the canyon and the carriage and being outside with mother nature which is kind of unique,” says Campagna.
In recent years, ‘barn weddings’ have been increasingly popular, but Barnacopia owner Gary Bocker built his as a museum where he could show his family how he used to farm. “I bought back all of my old machinery and cars and trucks and we built something to put them in.”
Barnacopia features three levels for a couple to use on their big day, including a soda fountain, and then there’s the game room on the third floor. “[With] a bridal suite in a silo, and the Coca-Cola barn, just a lot of small individual elements you might be able to find at individual places but not all in one,” says Tyson.
Next up, Killbuck Creek, which is a rustic lodge style venue located in Monroe Center. There, couples can get married year-round, surrounded by woods and farmland. The lodge used to be home to the Theden family, who now use it as a place for couples to stay during their big day.
“Some places are good summer venues but aren’t they best to do in the middle of the winter, but Killbuck is one that can do both really easily,” says Leif Theden.
There is a reception hall and patio, and an outdoor ceremony site situated among the trees, just behind the Tennessee lodge home.
The Theden’s say that their goal is to create a retreat for couples and a memorable experience. “Whether it’s a family reunion ,or wedding, or church gathering we really want people to feel like they are escaping, that they are leaving a really wild crazy stressful life,” says Leif Theden.
And then there’s the Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farms for couples who want a wedding filled with rustic elegance. The Pavilion sits on a 130-acre private estate just outside the village of Rockton, a favorite for Tyson because of all the options it offers.
“If you shoot a wedding here in the fall, as opposed to a wedding here in the spring time, I’m going to have so many different locations to work with, so many different environments, textures and temperatures and sunset time changes dramatically, it’s always a different experience out here.”
A large red barn set among trees, rolling hills, and a pond gives couples a rustic romantic feel to their wedding.
“The grand entrance, when you walk through those huge doors you see the beautiful chandeliers, the lights are dim, candles are on, it’s just a romantic feel and it’s just hard to come by in this area,” says Kacie Benjamin about what stands out to her.
Property manager Jennifer Elsen agrees that the Pavilion is truly something unique, “Definitely not your typical banquet room, I mean we have three walls that are all sliding glass doors that offer a panoramic view of the country side.”
Inside there’s a 40-foot masonry fireplace, grand chandeliers, large wooden double doors, and a grand ceiling. “it’s nice to know that if a bride or groom needs something done that we can just go and talk and get something done in a very rapid fashion. We all know we are here for the same reason and that’s just for the couple to enjoy their day,” says Tyson